A new government initiative to address climate change will attempt to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to almost zero by the year 2050.
This widely praised move has been described as the most ambitious goal to tackle climate change among any of the major nations, marking a huge increase from previous targets.
It’s believed this feat will be achievable using known technologies, bringing about significant economic benefits as well as enhanced public health.
This net zero target will mean nationwide changes to home heating, transport, farming and industry.
Emissions will either be avoided completely or counterbalanced by planting trees or removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
This statutory instrument has now amended the Climate Change Act of 2008, which had a far less dramatic 80 per cent goal.
The previous target had been criticised by climate change activists for not going far enough to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as pledged under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
🕘 #5LiveYourCall: Are you ready for change to help the climate?
The UK is committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions to #netzero by 2050.
We're the first major nation to propose this target.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) June 12, 2019
In May, the Committee on Climate Change reportedly urged ministers to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050, putting a stop to the UK’s contribution to global warming.
As reported by the Sky News, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
As the first country to legislate for long-term climate targets, we can be truly proud of our record in tackling climate change. We have made huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions.
Now is the time to go further and faster to safeguard the environment for our children. This country led the world in innovation during the industrial revolution, and now we must lead the world to a cleaner, greener form of growth.
Standing by is not an option. Reaching net zero by 2050 is an ambitious target, but it is crucial that we achieve it to ensure we protect our planet for future generations.
Going forward, Mrs May will meet with science and engineering students to discuss the plan.
Morning everyone. Tory leadership context has been slightly nudged aside for climate change to take centre stage as the PM commits to zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050. Can it be done? How? @bbc5live
— Rachel Burden (@rachelburden) June 12, 2019
This new plan has received praise from green organisation, with many viewing it to be a significant step forward.
As reported by The Guardian, chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, Doug Parr has described the move as ‘a big moment for everyone in the climate movement’:
As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, it is right that the UK is the world’s first major economy to commit to completely end its contribution to climate change, but trying to shift the burden to developing nations through international carbon credits undermines that commitment,
This type of offsetting has a history of failure and is not, according to the government’s climate advisers, cost-efficient.
This is brilliant, encouraging news for all of us who are concerned about a future blighted by climate change.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.